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Contxts: pros and cons of SMS business cards

Various technologies are seeking to displace business cards, but SMS may have the best chance IF done properly.

Ditching the traditional business card

“Business cards are so 2007,” says Contxts, a company that uses SMS (text messaging) to exchange business cards. There are no extra apps to download, no shaking of phones or hitting other phones with yours like a lightsaber, no, the tool uses existing text messaging systems built in to all mobile phones built in the last decade.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]More than a professional social network, they are the way to make meaningful connections while out and about.[/ba-pullquote]The company says they are more than a professional social network, they are the way to make meaningful connections while out and about, and “with the environment in shambles do you really want to be that guy who is handing out chopped up pieces of bleached trees?”

Through text messages, you can exchange all of your professional information, sending your credentials to someone over text immediately, and it keeps your professional contacts organized.

The upside and downside

The upside of using SMS business cards is tremendous – cost savings of no longer printing business cards, you get to wow people when you meet them that all they have to do is text you and they’ll immediately get all of your credentials. Additionally, it is environmentally sensitive, and helps you stay organized, as you get their basic information in return.

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[ba-pullquote align=”right”]Later on in the day, the exchange came up, and several people were extremely angry.[/ba-pullquote]The downside is that there is more to explain to a recipient than simply handing them a business card which is not at all threatening. Recently, at a networking event, we came across a young man who was using the Contxts service, and everyone was extremely impressed and enthusiastic to try it out, so after a group of ten texted in the simple code he told us to, we were pleased that we got his information immediately via text. What he failed to explain to everyone, however, is that their phones were sending him information (phone number and whatever name is on caller ID) as well. Later on in the day, the exchange came up, and several people were extremely angry, as there was no explanation that it was an exchange, rather “hey, text me, and it will send you my contact info,” and no way to unsubscribe or opt out of anything, leaving them feeling vulnerable.

That said, if users can properly explain to people that if they text a code, they will be exchanging basic information so that no trees are killed and everyone’s contact info is immediately in each others’ phones. Brilliant if done correctly.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. JonathanMartin1

    June 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    This is one the best article on topic. It is all about marketing and without this you won’t be able to push even the best app. I know a very nice application Rapid Protect – https://www.rapidprotect.net which is a  complex family safety and collaboration mobile applications for all major mobile platforms. It is currently available on all platforms such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry and even J2ME. They have superior web platform as well. Their applications are far superior to anything in the market, but I think, its marketing has not been very good. Rapid protect needs to improve its marketing efforts so that more and more people can know what a wonderful application that team has built.
    Again a great article and must read article for those developing mobile apps.

  2. Mike Vitamvas

    June 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    The drawback of electronic business cards is that your information can be quickly forgotten.  The advantage of a physical business card is that it can be handed to anyone and people have to touch it.  If you have a boring card then it probably does not make any difference, you’ll be forgotten anyway unless you connect in some other way.  If your card is creative and different and stands out then people will remember your card.  We specialize in creating cards that help people stand out.  The site if anyone wants to check it out is: https://CreativeBusinessCards.me

  3. Saurabh Das

    June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Wait, I can understand how texting a code to a phone number which has been programmed to send you specific information, works. But how does doing that automatically send your own private information without your permission? That would be a security leak of monumental proportions. I don’t buy it. Are we sure that it was merely a text message, and not a “Contxts” app?

  4. abodograph

    June 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Besides the privacy problems, it actually seems kind of clunky. Instead of handing a card to someone, I have to make them get out their phone, tell them what number to text to, tell them what code to type in, and after all that, they have to copy/paste my info from the SMS into their contacts. Seems like a case in which the low tech solution is better.

  5. Russell Haskins

    June 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Exactly what information does the ‘texter’ send without knowledge? The article is unclear. Obviously they will get your cell phone # but is something else also sent?

  6. AgentGenius

    June 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    essentially caller ID – he instantly had peoples’ names and numbers. good idea to update story, we’re on it!

  7. video chat phone

    October 3, 2012 at 7:02 am

    a

  8. video chat phone

    October 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

    The pros and cons are really beneficial for the people who are looking for promotion of the business by using mobile phones sms. I will  bookmark this post and share it with my other friends in the future..

  9. Pingback: 6 stellar SMS services that will make you swoon - AGBeat

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